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High climbing dioecious shrubs or lianas, sometimes with a robust stem, younger parts of the latter usually hairy and prickly, youngest parts slender and striate, sometimes rolled-in, and simulating tendrils, which are wanting. Leaves remotely spirally arranged, entire or palmately 3-7-lobed, subpalmately 3-7-nerved; Seed 1, large, with a thin almost juicy coat which exudes a kind of clear gum;


Asia-Tropical: New Guinea present; Sumatera (Sumatera present), SE. Asia present
About 11 spp., of which 4 both in SE. Asia and Malesia, and 7 confined to Malesia from Sumatra to New Guinea. .


The wood has very large porous vessels which contain water, used by the natives, hence the generic name; for its anatomy see the comprehensive study made by , and the review given by .


Leaves of Phytocrene are similar in shape and nervation to those of various genera in the Menispermaceae; besides the petiole emerges from a shallow cup-like thickening of the stem which also occurs often in Menispermaceae. In the latter, however, generally the petiole is swollen in the uppermost and maybe also in its basal part, which is never the case in Phytocrene.


Bl. 1849: p. 36. – In: Rumphia. nota
Benth. 1862 – In: Benth. & Hook.f., Gen. Pl. 1. p 354
Wall. 1969 – In: Blumea. p 234
HASSK. 1844: Cat. Hort. Bog. p 78
ENDL. 1837: Gen. p 281
SLEUM. 1968 – In: Taxon. p 448
SLEUM. 1969 – In: Taxon. p 479
REICHB. 1841: Nom. p 67